Constant complaining feels good to grumblers.
Lousy leaders complain like squawking crows. If they didn’t feel unhappy, they wouldn’t feel anything. Even when you do well, lousy leaders bellyache.
Why so much complaining:
Complaining makes lousy leaders feel powerful. Sometimes the only power people have is the power to dislike, disapprove, and disrupt.
Lousy leaders don’t know what to like. They spew sewage because they need to say something.
Constant complaining adds weight to your load. The more you complain, the more validated you feel. The more validated you feel, the more the solution is another person’s responsibility.
Constant complaining feels brave to cowards. The weight of blame feels lighter than the responsibility to improve something.
Constant complaining distills situations into less than they are.
Constant complaining pollutes and corrupts.
3 ways to quiet constant complaining:
Complaining to find solutions is useful. Complaining to complain is like dirt in someone’s gas tank.
#1. Track complaining:
Keep a notepad with you for a week and record each complaint you hear. (Especially the ones you hear yourself saying.)
#2. Give permission to complain:
“I need to get something off my chest,” means you’ll feel better after you talked about it. You don’t want answers. You want to give voice to the weight you carry. Complaining lightens your load.
Getting something off your chest provides space to reflect and choose a new path.
You need a person who listens to your complaints, but doesn’t simply affirm them. Team members need the same.
#3. Limit complaining:
Constant complaining distorts and corrupts.
It’s your fault when you let people pour garbage in your ears for an hour. Interrupt people. Restate their complaints and ask if you understand. When they affirm your understanding, ask, “What do you want?”
How useful are the complaints you hear or speak?
What makes complaining useful? Destructive?
4 Important Ways Complaining is Good for You
How and Why You Should Stop Complaining